Deep Sea Embers

Chapter 620: Todays Sunshine is Beautiful
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Chapter 620: Todays Sunshine is Beautiful

In the ancient and mystic ruins of Atlantis, the charred remains told stories of a once-great civilization. The land, while scorched and barren, came alive as occasional gusts of wind stirred up clouds of dust. It was in one such wind-tossed swirl that a spectral apparition materialized, bearing a striking resemblance to what one might see on a present-day inhabitant of Wind Harbor.

Witnessing this ethereal vision, both Nina and Morris were convinced that what stood before them was not a mere trick of the eye or an illusion cast by the winds.

Taking tentative steps, Morris approached the exact spot where the apparition had briefly appeared. His brow furrowed with deep thought, he murmured, Theres nothing here while scrutinizing every detail of his surroundings.

Ninas heart raced a bit faster from the sudden apparition. She whispered, her voice edged with uncertainty, That figure we just saw it bore an uncanny resemblance to a ghost, didnt it?

Morris turned to her, raising an eyebrow in intrigue, Are ghosts something to be feared?

She paused, taken aback, and then softly replied, Right. She was momentarily embarrassed, realizing the slight irony of her apprehension.

But her musings were interrupted. Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted another apparition. This one shimmered into existence, twirling amidst the dust that was being thrown about by the wind. It navigated through the burnt remnants and contorted tree trunks. For a brief moment, as the apparitions face became discernible, Nina felt a pang of recognition. It eerily resembled the cheerful lady who owned a clothing shop in Wind Harbors XC district a lady whose face was always adorned with a warm smile. But this apparitions face was different, vacant, and fleeting. It vanished almost as quickly as it appeared.

Over here! Without wasting a moment, Nina clutched Morriss arm and raced towards where the second apparition had manifested. But before they could get there, yet another ghostly figure made a brief appearance in the distance.

It was as if the ruins had awakened. Phantom-like figures, eerily reminiscent of elves, began appearing amidst the gusts and dust. With each step deeper into the heart of the ruins, Nina and Morris encountered these apparitions with increasing frequency. At first, these spirits would playfully tease at the periphery of their vision. But soon, no matter where they directed their gaze, they were met with these hazy, ephemeral forms.

Oblivious to the awe painted on her face, Nina and Morris treaded on the ash-laden ground, winding their way through the magnificent ruins that were once Atlantis. Everywhere they looked, apparitions, dressed as if they were from modern-day Wind Harbor, kept surfacing. Their blank, expressionless faces and their apparent lack of interest in the living visitors lent an unsettling and spine-tingling atmosphere to the ruins.

Finally, after what felt like hours, the pair found themselves in a sprawling open expanse within the ruins.

Everywhere they looked, ethereal apparitions floated, reminiscent of phantom elves dancing on air. Among these clear, discernible figures, some were so faint that their distinct features and racial identities blurred into obscurity. These spirits materialized and disappeared in unpredictable rhythms, synchronized with the swirling dust stirred by the chaotic wind. This wind seemed to breathe life into the ghostly figures as it passed through the expansive and grand ruins that were once the canopy of Atlantis. Under a tumultuous, dimly lit sky, a multitude of these apparitions gathered in the heart of what was fabled as the World Tree of Atlantis. It felt as though they were part of a grand, otherworldly assembly of spirits, a spectral soiree.

Nina, feeling a rising unease, whispered, Im genuinely getting uneasy Her fingers nervously played with the hem of her dress. The atmosphere around her wavered subtly, and her eyes periodically flashed a fiery glow. These must be the elves from Wind Harbor I even spotted the vendor from Crown Street who sells those elf wraps. Except, he was preparing them with a sauce made of rank, decaying organ meat

She hesitated momentarily, casting a wary look at the apparition resembling the vendor. She recalled that every time she described his elf wraps disparagingly, the man would react vehemently, asserting that the sauce was a four-thousand-year-old authentic recipe. His face would contort into a scowl, making him appear quite menacing.

Yet, just like the others, this apparition too dissolved into nothingness. 𝗳r𝐞𝐞w𝐞bn𝚘ve𝚕.co𝐦

Seeking some form of understanding, Nina turned to Morris, Do you think all those who go missing from Wind Harbor every night end up here? Are they all trapped inside this Silent Wall?

Morris, who had been lost in contemplation, responded, Atlantis is sheltering them.

Confused, Nina asked, What do you mean?

Morris elucidated, Atlantis is gathering and enveloping the consciousness of all the elves within the Silent Wall as its form of protection. It is her belief that by doing so, she can safeguard them from the impending apocalypse.

He took a deep breath before continuing, Ordinarily, any elf that enters the Dream of the Nameless One should immediately be transformed into one of these apparitions. However, thanks to the captains unique power, were exceptions. We remain sentient and self-aware in this dream. This is why Shireen appeared to us in Atlantiss eyes, we are lost elves.

Nina looked at her mentor, absorbing his words. Intuitively, she felt he was on to something, that his deduction was close to the truth.

Yet, one mystery remained Miss Vannas encounter with the vast desert and the colossal being claiming to be a god. What did that signify?

Another pressing concern began to take root in Ninas thoughts, but the narrative leaves us wondering what that might be.

Ninas eyes widened in shock as the implications of Morriss words sank in. So youre saying, the souls or consciousness of these elves get ensnared within Atlantiss remains night after night Surely, such constant immersion would be harmful? she exclaimed, her tone laced with genuine concern.

Morris nodded gravely. Indeed, it is harmful. Away from Wind Harbor, a mysterious sleep ailment has been plaguing elves in various city-states, rendering them dormant and unresponsive. Within Wind Harbor itself, were witnessing the decay and instability of the dream realm spilling over into our tangible reality. If Atlantiss protective mechanism persists without intervention, it might set in motion an unprecedented disaster.

Ninas lips parted, readying herself to share another pressing thought when a sudden whirlwind, laden with dust, rose in front of them. From within this whirlwind, another apparition took form.

This figure was a disheveled middle-aged man. With wild hair, an unkempt beard, and an overall rugged appearance, he stood out among elves a race typically associated with grace, vitality, and longevity. His aura suggested a rapid decline, almost as if life were slipping away from him moment by moment.

Ninas heart caught in her throat. Master Taran El! she exclaimed, her eyes fixed on the familiar face. Despite having come across several recognizable apparitions in this haunting place, seeing this esteemed elven scholar among them was jarring. I cant believe hes here as well

Morris, ever the voice of reason, responded, Given that everyone who gets trapped in the Dream of the Nameless One seems to end up here, it shouldnt be too surprising. He took a few deliberate steps towards the spectral figure of Taran El, deeply contemplative. Whats more important is understanding the actual condition these entrapped elves find themselves in. Their bond with Atlantis seems to have intensified, making it even more challenging to rouse them from this dreamlike state.

Intrigued, Nina cautiously approached the apparition and reached out, touching Taran Els arm hesitantly. I remember hearing stories about Mr. Taran El being ensnared within the dream realm once before. How did he manage to free himself from its clutches back then?

To Ninas astonishment, the phantom-like Taran El reacted, blinking slowly.

Did she just imagine that? She thought, watching closely.

However, there was no mistaking it. Taran El slowly pivoted his head, locking eyes with Nina, leaving her breathless with shock.

But before Nina could process this development, a monumental fireball erupted from Atlantiss ruins, racing skyward.

An overwhelming shockwave tore through the skies, dispelling the chaotic clouds overhead. The fierce winds, once wrapping around the vestiges of the World Tree, stilled abruptly. The fiery orb ascended, resembling a nascent sun, blanketing the land in its radiant glow in mere seconds.

Remarkably, neither the ruins of Atlantis nor any of the spectral figures nearby seemed to be the intended target of this blazing vision.

Ninas intensive and relentless training regimen truly paid dividends at this crucial juncture. With a determined lift of her head, her anguished scream metamorphosed into a majestic suns roar, spewing forth a stream of stellar energy. The magnificent display birthed a transient sun in the Dream of the Nameless Ones sky, which, though burning fiercely, lasted merely for a moment. Amidst the spectacular sight of the suns fiery aura, the collateral damage was significantly reduced.

However, the brief burst of solar radiance produced tangible effects within this dreamscape. The woods bordering the Silent Wall appeared to surge uncontrollably, their eerie wails echoing throughout. The terrain shuddered as if it were molten lava, with distant mountain chains erupting in reverberating tumults. There was a palpable sensation that, if exposed to this alien sunlight for just a tad longer, Atlantis might be roused from its eternal slumber. Yet, as the celestial flare receded, the volatile environment of the dream realm regained its equilibrium.

The aftermath of the skys upheaval produced immense dust clouds within Atlantiss remains. Amidst the settling haze, a figure layered in grime began to materialize. It was Morris, who, while dusting himself off and flicking burnt debris from his hair, irascibly cleaned his ears. With a stern gaze, he chided Nina, How many times has the captain cautioned you against initiating such volatile disruptions!

Nina, her body still emanating a subdued golden aura, appeared slightly embarrassed. As she was about to apologize, a surprised exclamation from Taran El interjected, Is this your idea of a grand entrance?

In a rare display of annoyance, Morris snapped back, Would you rather remain buried under ash?

Observing her usually poised and sophisticated mentor express such visible frustration was a novelty for Nina. But what truly astounded her was the evident transformation in Master Taran El. What was previously a forlorn phantom now stood as a vivid and alert being. Amid the settling dust and residual radiance, he might have looked a bit worse for wear, but he was unmistakably alive.

The illustrious academician, still reeling from the sudden sunburst, turned his gaze to Nina, who was gently shimmering with the aftereffects of her mighty exertion. His eyes mirrored a mix of astonishment and bewilderment.

It was evident that being abruptly awakened, only to be immediately inundated by a simulated solar explosion, was quite a jarring experience, particularly for a middle-aged elf who had seen healthier days.

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